One in seven
thinks end of world is coming: poll
By Chris Michaud | Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - - Nearly
15 percent of people worldwide believe the world
will end during their lifetime and 10 percent
think the Mayan calendar could signify it will
happen in 2012, according to a new poll.
The end of the Mayan calendar, which spans about
5,125 years, on December 21, 2012 has sparked
interpretations and suggestions that it marks
the end of the world.
"Whether they think it will come to an
end through the hands of God, or a natural disaster
or a political event, whatever the reason, one
in seven thinks the end of the world is coming," said
Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global
Public Affairs which conducted the poll for Reuters.
"Perhaps it is because of the media attention
coming from one interpretation of the Mayan prophecy
that states the world 'ends' in our calendar
year 2012," Gottfried said, adding that
some Mayan scholars have disputed the interpretation.
Responses to the international poll of
16,262 people in more than 20 countries
varied widely with only six percent of
French residents believing in an impending
Armageddon in their lifetime, compared
to 22 percent in Turkey and the United
States and slightly less in South Africa
But only seven percent in Belgium and
eight percent in Great Britain feared an
end to the world during their lives.
About one in 10 people globally also said
they were experiencing fear or anxiety
about the impending end of the world in
2012. The greatest numbers were in Russia
and Poland, the fewest in Great Britain.
Gottfried also said that people with lower
education or household income levels, as
well as those under 35 years old, were
more likely to believe in an apocalypse
during their lifetime or in 2012, or have
anxiety over the prospect.
"Perhaps those who are older have
lived long enough to not be as concerned
with what happens to their future," she
Ipsos questioned people in China, Turkey,
Russia, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, the
United States, Argentina, Hungary, Poland,
Sweden, France, Spain, Belgium, Canada,
Australia, Italy, South Africa, Great Britain,